**REMEMBER THAT YOUR UP AND DOWN ARROW
KEYS WILL SCROLL THE TEXT**
Grant pulled out his stethoscope.
And who is your family physician?
Gil slanted him a glance, then slid
it away again. Dont have one.
I see. What medications are
you presently taking for
Look, Im not on no medications,
all right? Gil snapped. Whats with
the twenty-question stuff? I just need you to help
me. My lungs are killing me.
Grant nodded and placed the chart
on the counter. Lets get you started on
a breathing treatment. He turned to Gina, who
was already assembling the nebulizer unit. Gina,
lets do 4 milligrams of Decadron and 2.5 milligrams
Ready to load, Doctor.
She stepped to the oxygen line, connected her medicines,
and adjusted the flow. As she placed the mouthpiece
of the unit in Gils mouth she indicated for
him to hold it, then leaned toward him and tapped
at his front shirt pocket. Got some cigarettes
there, I see. You smoke?
Lauren suppressed a smile. Gina was
an outspoken opponent of smoking, and she seemed to
lack fear when it came to confronting patients about
their bad habits.
This patient glared at her, then
laid his head back against the pillow. No law
Gil, lets listen to your
breathing. Grant eased the patient forward and
raised his shirt to press the stethoscope against
the mans back. He listened a moment, then straightened.
You say your lungs hurt? Whats the sensation?
They burn, okay? Gil
snapped. Its my throat, mostly.
That doesnt sound like
an asthmatic reaction. You might need
Hey, I think that stuff might
be working. It doesnt feel so bad now.
Good. Its fast-acting
medication, Grant said.
So youre feeling better,
Gil? Gina asked.
He closed his eyes and nodded. Yeah.
So give the lady a medal.
Gina stepped to the far side of the
exam room and rubbed her nose.
Now, Gil, Grant said,
I need more information about the onset of your
breathing problem. I noticed you were holding your
throat. Did you accidentally inhale something that
set off the
Yeah, thats what happened,
Gil said. My girlfriend gave me some ...
you know, some caustic stuff to clean the tub, and
I breathed too much of it.
Lauren saw Ginas sudden expression
of disbelief, then the shake of her head. No way had
this guy been cleaning a tub when he didnt even
bother to clean his own body.
Grant reached for a tongue depressor.
I dont think this is an asthma attack.
We need to see if theres some other cause of
distress. Lets get a look at your throat.
He took the nebulizer mouthpiece out of Gils
mouth and handed it to Gina to hold for a moment.
Open wide, Gil.
The patients eyes narrowed.
He darted a glance at Grant, then at Lauren, then
slowly opened his mouth. Lauren caught a quick glimpse
of rotten teeth and a fiery red mouth and throat.
Grant nodded. Mm-hmm.
He took the unit from Gina and placed it back in Gils
mouth, then turned to Lauren. Lets go
ahead and establish an IV for some Solu-Medrol. Draw
Lauren was already prepared. She
reached for Gils left arm and unbuttoned the
sleeve of his shirt. There were no appreciable veins.
She moved the sleeve further up above his elbow.
No! He jerked away. I
hate needles! He grabbed at the sleeve, but
not before she saw the scars.
Gina gasped softly. Lauren stared.
The man had some nasty ... track marks?